Bruce Dickinson
Balls to Picasso


3.5
great

Review

by scissorlocked USER (35 Reviews)
February 28th, 2011 | 31 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Balls to the past

" In retrospect, I was locked into a cycle of self mutilation that nobody else really understood at the time. I was very uncomfortable with the automatic respect accorded to me because of being in Iron Maiden. I felt I didn’t deserve respect automatically. It had to be earned. I did two things. First, I learned to fly airplanes, second I quit Iron Maiden.” Bruce's own words accurately reflect his idiosyncrasy during his last days at the band. With no regrets on his decision, and sworn to embrace his freedom with a new vision, away from the big-hair-metal and 80’s cliché’s, he stumbled across an unprecedented impotence: “… This was a terrifying moment. I had always thought of myself, despite of my taste of ludicrous trousers and mickey taking, as having some shred of creativity. Yet here I was swimming in glue of my own choosing…” However, it seems that the fiery frontman did have a plan, and with the help of the promising Tribe of Gypsies (featuring Roy Z on guitar), it eventually found its manifestation on 1994's Balls to Picasso.

The album may be well portrayed as the product of Bruce's will to create something " dark, scary, joyful and intense", and his perplexity on this new turn. This constant disposition is reflected upon the songs, giving the record a moody feeling that stands out as a double edged sword: while it provides variety and unexpected climaxes, it undermines the general cohesion. And while the three first songs feature heavy riffing alongside with sing-along anthemic choruses, songs like "1000 points of Light" or "Shoot all the Clowns"(in which you can hear Bruce almost rapping) fail to show the needed spark of wit in order to sound smart and enjoyable. The opener "Cyclops" quickly creates an interesting atmosphere with its' bridge's playful rhythm, but its' big running time makes it boring after a while. The combination of smart but repetitive instrumentation continues throughout the record, with many highs and lows." Gods of War " features great vocal lines and solid riffing, and in the same vein, "Laughing in the Hiding Bush" managed to become a live favorite. " Change of Heart' stands alone as a nostalgic ballad, while "Fire" fails completely to sound memorable or sincerely quirky. Yet, Roy Z's guitar work is solid and appropriate for paving the way for Bruce's performance which is overall at very high levels. That doesn't occur though with his lyrics which exhaustively praise his newfound musical freedom or attempt an almost naive social criticism. This can be seen as a response to the heavy metal escapism that surrounded him in the Maiden days.

Still, there is one thing in the album that clearly deserves further attention, and that is its closing track, "Tears of the Dragon". The song is a 6 minute ballad, written by Bruce alone, and it is undeniably the best track here. It is Dickinson's little catharsis, a redeeming song about the overall pressure he felt in the Maiden years. And whereas the same themes are present in the whole record, here the statements are heartfelt and sincere. The lyrics are simple and intense:" I've thrown myself into the sea/ release the wave let it wash over me". Dickinson's soaring voice, the smooth acoustic guitar lines and the brilliant guitar solo at the middle section make this track one of the highlights of his career, and his most personal moment.

Forced to live under the shadow of far greater albums like Accident of Birth or The Chemical Wedding, Balls to Picasso is generally a good but inconsistent album. It remains a necessary bridge(together with Skunkworks) in Bruce Dickinson's career between a frustrated past and a bright renaissance. A venturesome undertaking at its' time, Balls to Picasso owes a lot to it's inspirer's impulsions and to its' closing track's sheer beauty. Far away from flawlessness, it's an album of humble nature, and maybe that's why it manages to be so congenial.



Recent reviews by this author
Balthazar RatsCaspian Waking Season
Gravenhurst The Ghost in DaylightAU Both Lights
If These Trees Could Talk Red ForestA Place to Bury Strangers Onwards To The Wall
user ratings (156)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
scissorlocked
February 28th 2011


3527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this needed a review badly



constructive criticism is welcome

Digging: Rob Mazurek Octet - Skull Sessions

scissorlocked
February 28th 2011


3527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah,you've got a point...

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2011


7620 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

In retrospect,I



separate the I after the comma





Balls to Picasso is generally a good but inconsistent album. It remains a necessary bridge in Bruce Dickinson's career between a frustrated past and a bright renaissance.



Change Balls to Picasso with Skunkworks ;)



I would write the closure paragraph like this:



Forced to live under the shadow of far greater albums like Accident of Birth or The chemical wedding, Balls to Picasso owes a lot to it's inspirer's impulsions and to its' closing track's sheer beauty. Far away from flawlessness, it's an album of humble nature, and maybe that's why it manages to be so congenial.



But then again, it is not my review ;)









Excellently written review, I had forgotten this didn't had one.



have a pos.

scissorlocked
February 28th 2011


3527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

shit, i wanted to include skunkworks in the summary, I must have forgotten





anyway,thanks a lot voivod!!!

scissorlocked
February 28th 2011


3527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the crappiest thing of the album is its' cover

Tyrael
February 28th 2011


21082 Comments


Bruce Dickinson is such a lyrical genius, he just keeps surprising me.

Digging: Summoning - With Doom We Come

MetalMassacreAttack
February 28th 2011


424 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review

scissorlocked
February 28th 2011


3527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think his best lyrics can be found on The Chemical wedding



and the song with the same name is maybe his best ever

BigHans
February 28th 2011


28551 Comments


Tears of the Dragon

Tyrael
February 28th 2011


21082 Comments


I think his best lyrics can be found on The Chemical wedding

The Chemical Wedding is one of my favourite heavy metal albums actually. It's on par with the likes of Powerslave.

BigHans
February 28th 2011


28551 Comments


Steel Dragon rules.

scissorlocked
February 28th 2011


3527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@MetalMassacreAttack: thanks a lot man



@Tyraelxy: yeah,the whole album is golden, and it's actually one of the best metal one is the 90's





hey sonictheplumber, are you on acid or something?

Tyrael
February 28th 2011


21082 Comments


Haha dude that's not saying much since the 90's were a pretty bad period for metal! Except for black metal of course.

scissorlocked
February 28th 2011


3527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think that the 90's are pretty underrated as for the metal releases

I mean surely it wasn't like the 80's but we had Rust in Peace, Still Life,the Politics of Ecstasy, Painkiller, Times of grace,Human, Unquestionable presence and so much more...

scissorlocked
February 28th 2011


3527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

how could I forget Pantera? They alone can defend 90's metal

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2011


7620 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the crappiest thing of the album is its' cover



i like the cover a lot. It striked differently in an era where nearly 90% of metal covers were "dungeons and dragons".







ummm dude 90s had great stuff



yeah, although it took a lot of effort to find out about it, since the internet was not as developed as it is today...

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2011


7620 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dude if you wanted to hear anything besides britny fox and whitesnake, you had to buy obscure magazines



or stroll in really obscure record shops.

lostforwords
March 1st 2011


447 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Excellent review, will pos.



I agree with the rating too, this is definately a good album, but not nearly as good as Birth and Wedding

scissorlocked
March 1st 2011


3527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks for the kind words Lostforwords

Tyrael
March 1st 2011


21082 Comments


Hey scissor I noticed that Tatooed Millionaire doesn't have a review either maybe you can do that one
too?



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy